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Add Showtime to the list of outlets that are pulling content from their streaming platforms.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the Paramount Global-backed cabler has pulled a number of short-lived, underperforming shows from its streaming platform. The list includes American Gigolo and Let the Right One In — both of which were canceled earlier Monday — as well as Jim Carrey vehicle Kidding, the first season of anthology Super Pumped, On Becoming a God in Central Florida and American Rust. Also vanishing from the Showtime streaming platform are seasons of acquired content including The End and Wakefield. Additional shows are likely included in the mass removal.
Reps for Showtime did not immediately respond to THR’s request for comment.
The news comes hours after Showtime parent Paramount Global announced that the linear premium cable network and the premium version of Paramount+ would both be rebranded later this year as Paramount+ With Showtime. Under Chris McCarthy, who added Showtime to a purview that also includes Paramount Network and fellow linear brands Comedy Central and MTV, the premium cable network is expected to focus on originals with “franchise potential” as he looks to cut costs at the cabler. It’s unclear how or if Showtime’s current executive leadership team will be impacted by the merger and rebranding.
As for the mass removal, Showtime is expected to let the rights holders for the impacted programs shop the series. Let the Right One In, for example, is already being shopped. The affected titles will also be removed from Paramount+, where subscribers who pay for the bundled service with Showtime currently have access. They are likely to be removed from Paramount+ in the coming days.
Removing titles from streaming platforms has become a depressing trend over the past few months as conglomerates look to right-size budgets and cut costs. Removing completed seasons allows Showtime and their competitors to take a tax write-down on content as well as shop titles that are owned in-house to third-party buyers as many seek to monetize content that underperformed. HBO Max, for example, removed the big-budget Westworld with the hopes of selling it to a third-party ad-supported streamer. That would allow parent company Warner Bros. Discovery to add revenue to a show that bled so many viewers in its fourth season that the creators’ six-season plan was cut short. HBO Max original series Generation recently sold to the Fox-backed AVOD service Tubi, bringing further value to the former.
The content removal for On Becoming a God in Central Florida represents the latest blow to the Kirsten Dunst-led dark comedy. The series was originally developed for AMC and was bought and produced by YouTube. When YouTube bailed on scripted originals, Showtime stepped in and aired the first season. Following favorable reviews, Showtime renewed the series for a second season only to reverse course on the pickup and cancel the series due to scheduling challenges stemming from the pandemic.
The fate of season two of Super Pumped, meanwhile, remains a question mark at Showtime as the anthology was renewed with a focus on Facebook.
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